CONCORD, N.H. — U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is inviting Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to visit the state as soon as possible to hear from and work directly with dairy farmers dealing with drought conditions and low milk prices.

In a letter sent Thursday, the Republican senator says prolonged drought conditions, combined with the low milk prices “are having a devastating impact on these small and medium-size farms.”

She says without immediate action, “more farms are in danger of closing.”

Ayotte says the state Department of Agriculture estimates 16 percent of New Hampshire’s dairy farmers have closed in the past eight months.

“I strongly encourage USDA (to) expend available resources to provide aid for New Hampshire’s dairy farmers, as well as to identify subsequent ways to support the industry,” Ayotte wrote. “Should the department determine that further authorizations are required to aid dairy farmers, please communicate what congressional action is necessary.”